Saturday, May 30, 2009

Odds and Ends


1. Positano News reported a woman in Sorrento who’d clock into work each day at the hospital as a nurse , then promptly change direction and go and work at her son’s bar.

2. Yesterday morning, a lady cleaning outside at Positano Town hall got hit directly on the head by an empty fruit case which fell from above. She was taken to the Sorrento hospital for first aid. Naturally the afore-mentioned woman wasn’t there.

3. Did you know that the Island of Capri ‘s name derives from ‘goats’ ? Well they are back ! The island will be repopulated by goats in order to keep vegetation down and bush fires at bay. You may even be able to glimpse them from the sea.

4. One knows when The Giro D’Italia hits Positano, by the helicopters hovering above one’s head making an incessant noise, and by the fact that you can walk unhindered along the town road and not have to look out for the bus looming behind you.

5. Remember my mystery neighbour ? The place is now being turned inside out. It looks like someone might move in soon! Keep tuned after summer…

Wednesday, May 27, 2009



If anyone is interested I have just discovered a new webcam over Positano Spiaggia Grande .

It slowly pans the main beach at a close range ( but a little out of focus), so you may recognize people that you know!

Click on the picture for the link then insert ’spiaggia’ as the username and password.

Thank you to some readers for pointing out that you need to install ActiveX control for Internet Explorer to view it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


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A scooter buzzed past the restaurant balcony window at Positano. There were two people on board, the person sitting at the back had long auburn hair streaming out from beneath her helmet. I didn’t think twice about it as we were celebrating my second eldest’s nineteenth birthday and we were concentrated on perusing the menu and filling our stomachs. Or rather, my voracious son’s were. The rest of us were sipping the Prosecco and nibbling on the foccacia, compliments of the house due to her birthday.

My friend unexpectedly appeared in the doorway of the pizzeria. Glowing with the breeze blown hair, her vivacity turned the heads of everyone at the tables. First thing she said was ‘Oh, you’ve gone straight’, referring to my daughter’s normally naturally curly hair. She then presented me with a package containing her handmade soaps in my favourite scents.

Her bubbly personality in keeping with her craft, radiates energy. She’d accompanied us into the mountains a few days back and when I mentioned that I wanted to try her soaps she’d abandoned all, just before her dinner party ( at a time where I’d have been panicking), to package and personally deliver them to me before I left town.


The scents in her soaps are redolent of the wafts of citrus blossom carried through the garden on sea breezes. Their texture's a creamy milk, crafted using the natural ingredients available on the Amalfi Coast. Rich Goats milk features heavily and she goes to great lengths to collect it high in the Lattari mountains at Santa Maria del Castello. The soaps and bath products reflect the chamomile, mimosa (wattle), rosemary, mint, figs, and citrus fruit which revel in the climate and real honey from Positano bees.


They are luxurious products but their affordable price belies the quality of the ingredients. They are a real pleasure to use and to receive.

When we got home from the restaurant in the balmy April night and were greeted by a cloud of fireflies dancing amongst the citrus groves, I was very happy that I could bring a part of the coast back with me; through the memories, the lemons and her soaps.


Click on Saponissimo for Europe or on the banner for Etsy US and try the range yourselves.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Path of the Gods or How to be Thankful for Roads again.

There came a time where I wondered what the path to heaven actually looked like, so a friend from Positano (an angel in disguise ?) offered to guide me in the mountains above the Coastline.
We rose above the tiny village of Nocelle (by bus) and took the stairs leading up from the houses where the Path of the Gods began. The track was originally that used by villagers to go to Agerola before the road along the coast was built. The path and gardens of Nocelle were full of blue borage flowers, the air perfumed with rosemary growing in the cracks of the rocks. I quickly realized that not all rosemary plants festooning the cliff faces had same intensity of perfume, so I broke off some of the choice pieces to dry and use in roasts.
P1000761 My eight year old had tagged along to keep her little one company and the kids were off as soon as we hit the path. L. skipped and bounded confidently off the roughly cut rocks with mine following somewhat gingerly behind. You could tell who was from Positano and who was not.
It was late April but the sun was shining and warm and as we followed the narrow dirt track in and out of the mountain curves we became grateful for the cool respite in the glades full of wild cyclamens.
P1000794The whole mountain was a mass of flowers. Bushes filled with dainty spring blossoms lined the paths. I spotted wild lavender , broom, chamomile, citronella, and squeezed mirto leaves between my fingers. We even came across a grassy ledge with wild orchids hiding amongst the leaves.
Walk as we might, we always looked like we were on top of San Pietro Hotel. The path followed every curve in the mountain sometimes perilously close to the edges of cliffs.
A gaggle of goats stopped to watch us. We smelt and heard the clanging of their bells before we actually came across them, their red coats shining a henna rinse. Snakes slithered for cover and a scorpion lay slain by a previous hiker. That is the only scorpion I ever intend to see.
The kids had a break for a panino and then came the hard part. My friend had every intention of visiting a small monastery fallen into disuse called San Domenico tucked away in the folds of the mountain near Praiano. When she pointed it out, I thought it an improbable option as no path actually led there (or so I hoped). But she determinedly scouted ahead to see if the track continued down the cliff. We slipped and scrambled our way down steep stony goat-dropping infested paths, mostly on our bottoms, so as not to fall. Just as the path seemed to want to catapult us over its edge, it would twist suddenly and cross to the other side.
But the peril was well worth the visit. Frescoes graced the arches of the church with a simplicity which was refreshing.
A bell was positioned over the town of Praiano.
From then on the going was easy. A long stairwell brought us all the way down the mountain from the monastery to the village of Praiano. Halfway down some very steep stairs, a cardiologist had chosen a corner for his studio. Maybe it was for those who were on their way to the pathway to heaven.
For more info on the Path of the Gods, here is a good site.
Ciao Chow Linda’s has to take all credit for letting me know how to adjust photos for the blog. Take a visit and see her blog for yourself. Thank you Linda !
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The photos from this post were the winners in Blogging from the Boot.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A simple taste of Amalfi Summer

The sea beckoned in the glorious weather in the week preceding Easter. The morning was such that I was determined to rouse my sleepy kids and make something special from the day. I decided on visiting the town of Amalfi just for the boat trip, and we raced down to the pier to catch the 10am ferry. The dock was crowded with tourists, a little presage, I imagined, of the confusion that we would find in Amalfi, but when the Maria Madre ferry arrived, there were only two others aside from us to board the boat. All the other poor devils were heading for Capri.


I was relieved that I’ d left my firearm at home, otherwise I would have had to throw it overboard, although none of the crew members actually asked me if I had one. The only things I was shooting, was with my camera.


The sea was calm and the boat pulled smoothly away from the dock just as the ferry for Capri arrived. The velvety water churning behind us, we headed off along the coast line.P1000419

We were distracted from the beautiful scenery by the incongruous signs on the ferry. Especially the sign in the toilets: ‘To Flush the toilet please switch on the light’. Some simple plumbing going on there.


Then there was the sign about not throwing rubbish overboard. Unless you were a certain distance from land.


The boat pulled into Amalfi and I immediately began looking out for Laura from Ciao Amalfi. We’d never met, so spotting her, based on a simply picture wouldn’t have been easy anyway. I didn’t know it then but she was on holiday away from Italy at Easter.


We headed straight for the piazza, and must have had the word ‘Tourist’ stamped on our forehead for the waiters looked hopefully our way. The piazza was full of people but mostly bubbling with students. Amalfi is the base for high school for most of the students from Positano , and my kids were spotted by their summer friends immediately. The students were everywhere but in school. ‘Laura’ or Claudio’ would ring out from the tables surrounding the fountain. We’d have to weave our way through the a stream of adolescents coming down the hill in their designer sunglasses so we took the side streets to avoid them.


Chef Chuck had also been on my mind when I went to Amalfi, as his ancestral family is from here and the important D’Afflitto crest lies in the Duomo. The colomns on the bell tower are repeated in the cloisters. A mass was on in the church when I entered, being given by the students for the earthquake victims of Abruzzo. Students were reading reflections and prayers , so I was unable to wander around inside and get the photo that he wanted to see.

Sorry Chuck ! !


Having a gander around the touristy shops, I snapped a pic for my sister. Then we headed ice cream in hand for a walk along the pier while waiting for our boat. There were just as many students waiting for the buses as there had been in the Piazza. A grand-dad was fishing on the edge, string in hand and grand-daughter in tow. P1000425

Trestle tables of bric-a-brac were on offer for charity, and jostled for shade with the ‘designer sunglasses’ for sale, laid on a cloth on the pavement.


We headed home just after the students boarded their bus for Positano. On arriving home, my other half was waiting for us saying that he’d seen us getting off the ferry.

‘Why didn’t you wave back?’ he asked.

‘I couldn’t see you !’ I replied.

It was only after I zoomed in on the photo I’d taken of the house from the ferry that I did see him, binoculars glued to his face.


Twenty-two people thought:

Blogger Lucia said...

Well I'll have to take you on a lovely ferry trip as well!
Great story and pics...on another note can you tell me why the piazza is lit up at night, is Positano having some kind of a festival...can't wait to hear what you have to say! I look forward to your posts and Charlie's everyday:)

May 14, 2009 9:49 PM

Blogger Ciao Chow Linda said...

Positano and Amalfi - two of the prettiest places in Italy. Lucky you.

May 14, 2009 10:12 PM

Blogger Lola said...

I remember now, everyone has a pair of binoculars in Positano!
What a lovely trip you had, brava. I miss Positano so much, I may just sneak off one of these weekends and surprize everyone. Need to smell the wisteria and the datura flowers...

May 14, 2009 10:25 PM

Blogger Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Ah shame Laura from Ciao Amalfi wasn't there ... have you met at all yet??
Positano and Amalfi two more places to put on my "to visit" list !!

May 14, 2009 10:46 PM

Anonymous syam said...

Hey its nice information. Thank you for sharing with us

May 15, 2009 12:24 AM

Blogger Paul Anater said...

Thanks for another great post. I feel like I was back there all over again.

May 15, 2009 2:38 AM

Blogger Annika said...


May 15, 2009 6:49 AM

Blogger Rowena... said...

Your mention of the ferry reminds me that it's time we do our seasonal boat ride on the lake. Maybe this time for Como...I'll keep my binoculars at the ready just in case Georgie is in town :-PPP

May 15, 2009 10:18 AM

Blogger Laura said...

Ciao Scintilla! What a lovely post! I really enjoyed seeing and hearing about your trip to Amalfi during that week I was away. Too bad your visit was while I was in America! We will certainly have to meet this summer. I love taking the ferry back and forth between Amalfi & Positano. I got a kick out of your photos of signs on the ferry! The toilet one sums up all Italian plumbing for me! :-) I am glad you enjoyed your day in Amalfi. Let's plan a re-do this summer! Oh, and thanks for the reminder that we need a new pair of binoculars. :-) Ciao!!

May 15, 2009 11:03 AM

Anonymous Andrea said...

Wow, it looks so beautiful. I haven't been to that part of Italy - yet.

May 15, 2009 11:41 AM said...

Lucia- I think its simply because the tourist season has started. The dock area on the main beach is where everyone hangs out. But there will be a few festa's coming up.

May 15, 2009 3:03 PM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I was trying to get a better glimpse of your other half, but I can't seem to recognize him.
Must USE my binoculars!!!
Lovely shots.

May 15, 2009 4:41 PM

Blogger Chef Chuck said...

Ciao Scintilla, What a day on the Amalfi coast! Very impressive photo's, Yes, I wish I was there, but being the kind person you are, you shared it so well!!
I want to thank you so much for thinking of me. Grazie :)

May 16, 2009 2:21 AM

Blogger Monika said...

These pictures are gorgeous and funny (the pic of the gun and the toilet!).
I am sad to say we didn't get to the Amalfi over the last year and I can see why everyone tells me I'm going to regret it - looks beautiful!

Blogger Lola said...

Swing by my kitchen, there's a little something for you... Ciao bella!

May 18, 2009 6:32 AM

Blogger Delwyn said...

Hi there
I am Delwyn from Noosa Qld and have been sent over here at Lola's suggestion.
I am pleased to have come and enjoyed your adventure today, and will read further.
It sounds to me as if you may be a fellow Aus?
Happy Days

May 18, 2009 7:55 AM

OpenID casalba said...

Glad you didn't have to throw your firearm overboard, however far you were out to sea - what a strange sign about the rubbish. As was the sign about the flushing instructions.

May 18, 2009 12:29 PM

Blogger Lori E said...

I have always wanted to go to Italy. I just knew I did but when I see and read your blog I know even more that Italy is the place for me. Every story just adds another layer to my dream.
Now if we can just get the Euro closer to the Canadian dollar I will be there.

May 18, 2009 4:27 PM

Fire Byrd said...

Lola was right you do live in a beautiful place. You must be seriously fit to be able to go back and forth to the mini market.
Amazing photographs all the way down the page, loved the wisteria.

May 18, 2009 6:28 PM

qualcosa di bello said...

today is very cold & dreary here in NC...your prelude to summer was the perfect pick-me-up!! grazie

May 18, 2009 7:56 PM

Blogger lakeviewer said...

I've come in from Aglio, Olio e peperoncino. I believe I'll return.

May 19, 2009 1:12 AM

Blogger said...

Thank you everyone for all your lovely comments. And welcome to all the newcomers. I will be around to visit your blogs too!